Daily Archives: June 21, 2010

Radar Imaging Detects Hyksos Town in Nile Delta

Rossella Lorenzi reports on the use of radar imaging to discover a Hyksos town buried under the modern Egyptian town at the site of Tell el-Daba.

Radar imaging in Egypt’s Nile Delta has unveiled the outlines of a buried city that was the stronghold of foreign occupiers some 3,500 years ago, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities announced Monday.

Discovered by a team of Austrian archaeologists in Tell el-Daba in the northeastern Nile Delta, the ruins belong to the southern suburban quarters of Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos kings who formed Egypt’s 15th dynasty.

Known as the “rulers of foreign countries” (probably of Asiatic roots),  the Hyksos infiltrated Egypt and came to dominate the Nile valley for over a century during the Second Intermediate Period (1664-1569 B.C.).

The article continues to mention the importance of the Hyksos to the trade in the Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean world.

The technique used in this discovery is explained.

Using a combination of geophysical survey and excavation techniques, the Austrian archaeologists led by Irene Forstner-Müller investigated approximately 2.6 square kilometers (1 square mile) of the ancient buried city.

The resulting computer-generated images showed a very detailed layout, complete with houses, streets, cemeteries and palaces.

The team has also identified temples where the Hyksos worshipped the god Seth, a possible harbor area and a series of pits of different sizes whose function has not yet been determined.

Avaris was then captured by King Ahmose I (ruled about 1570-1546 B.C.), who ended the Hyksos rule and founded the glorious 18th dynasty, which included pharaohs such as Hatshepsut, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun.

Color satellite image with radar imaging in monochrome showing the outlines of streets, houses and temples buried under the modern town of Tel al-Daba. Courtesy of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

The eastern portion of the Nile Delta is known as the Land of Goshen in the Bible. This was the home of the Israelites for many years.

Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.” (Genesis 47:1 NAS)

The article may be read in its entirety here in Discovery News.

We have mentioned other discoveries at Tell el-Daba, and the work of the Austrian archaeologists here and other places which you may locate by placing the word Goshen in the search box.

HT: Brooks Cochran